Easy Tips for Campus Security

Apr 2nd 2019

a bike is parked beside campus buildings

College can be a fun and exciting time. Students get out on their own, engaging with learned faculty members about the industries and fields of their interest. But as recent news stories tell us, college campuses are also at risk for a variety of safety concerns.

Making sure your campus is secure can be a challenge. This is particularly true if you are running a fairly large university. Faculty, students, support personnel, and visitors are all engaging in activities on campus on a daily basis. Many potential issues arise as a result of so many people and variables. Creating and maintaining the best campus security practices can seem overwhelming. But it’s actually easier than you might think. If you are looking to tweak your protocols and change the security culture on your campus for the better, here are some easy tips that will make a difference:

Review Your Security Systems for Weak Points

The best starting point for improving campus security is to look at the systems already in place. Make sure to examine all aspects of your campus from a critical point of view to help your students, staff, and visitors feel comfortable and secure. Your audit should take into account everything from the lighting systems along sidewalks and pathways to a complete review of the university’s email and network software.

As you do your audit, don’t just look for physical threats to students and staff. You should also consider cyber attacks. Security plans need to take cyber threats into account so you can offer the safest experience possible for everyone. If your network is compromised or taken down by malware or ransomware, it could cause a host of problems for your campus.

Install and Maintain Card Reader Locks

a card is read by a card reader

When you look at the digital systems on your campus, don’t just focus on computer terminals and email servers. A popular technique that colleges use to boost their security is utilizing card readers and electronic locks. These door locks do more for campus security than restrict access to sensitive areas. They protect other facilities on campus like dorms or even classrooms. Requiring an ID card to access places on campus ensures that only students and staff can move about and that outside threats are stopped in their tracks. But because these locks are tied into your campus network, they are vulnerable to hacking just like other digital devices. Making sure you have the proper firewalls and security software for your readers is then critical to maintaining a safe atmosphere.

Barcode Scanners for Enhanced Security

Another great tool for enhancing campus security is barcode scanners. While normal ID cards and readers are great for restricting access, cards with a barcode can take security one step further. Instead of scanning a standard magnetic strip, barcodes offer a more individualized approach to security. With a proper network in place along with your barcode ID cards, you’ll be able to easily track when and where each card is used. This can prove to be a vital asset in deterring crime or locating suspects when an issue is caused by a member of your university.

Use Webcams and Cameras to Take Photos for Badges

Another essential part of any campus security system is creating easy ways to recognize who belongs on your campus. This is why it is crucial to have a system in place for creating student and staff IDs. Omnicard can help your school get the right equipment to create badges, including photos and personal information for all your students and staff, from full-time faculty to food service workers to the maintenance crew to the administration. It’s important to have high-quality webcams or cameras so that you get clear pictures for your badges. Your campus security is heightened when identifying faculty, staff, and students is as easy as looking at the badge on their lanyard.

Freeze Stolen or Lost Cards with Your Phone

One of the most important things in any emergency is the ability to act quickly. No student should be without a plan when their card turns up missing. While many times, cards are found without any damage done, it is not uncommon for theft to occur on college campuses. Card management systems allow students to freeze their cards on their phone with just one click. This protective measure ensures that a card cannot be used by someone else.

Offer Emergency Areas and Other Tools

Another important thing you can do for the benefit of everyone is offer emergency tools and areas around campus. This includes call boxes or buttons for use during emergencies, but should involve staffed areas that people can escape to when needed. Campus security offices and student lounges all provide refuge to people who need a place to be at during an emergency and should be appropriately outfitted with staff and/or locks to be the most secure.

If you do have these facilities in place, make sure students know about them. You can create safety maps with suggested secure routes and incorporate them into your campus app and digital presence. When you do, people have the information on hand wherever they go and will know what to do if they find themselves in a crisis.

Engage in Safe Networking Practices

Not all campus security issues involve a physical, real-world threat. Incidents of cyber attacks are on the rise, even within universities. Your campus database contains vital data on students and faculty that hackers can easily exploit. Social security numbers, bank accounts, and personal data like addresses are all at risk if you are not vigilant about your campus’s cybersecurity. Because your system may be accessed by thousands of people via computers and mobile devices, there is a great potential for vulnerability within your system.

Not all campus security issues involve a physical, real-world threat. Incidents of cyber attacks are on the rise, even within universities. Your campus database contains vital data on students and faculty that hackers can easily exploit. Social security numbers, bank accounts, and personal data like addresses are all at risk if you are not vigilant about your campus’s cybersecurity. Because your system may be accessed by thousands of people via computers and mobile devices, there is a great potential for vulnerability within your system.

Encourage Awareness among Students and Faculty

While utilizing technology is definitely something you should do to make your campus secure, one of the best ways to make sure everyone stays safe is to encourage smart practices. With phones and other devices always in the hands of students, it is too easy to get distracted and quickly get in a dangerous situation.

Part of your campus security program should encourage people to put down their phone and be more aware of their surroundings. This is especially true at night when crimes are more likely to occur. You can put Wi-Fi blocks or use other strategies like apps to encourage people to engage more with their surroundings as well so they can be vigilant and ready in case they find themselves in an emergency situation.

Find the Right Plan for Your Campus

Implementing security strategies along with hardware and software solutions – as well as educating everyone on your campus about safety procedures – can make a big difference in keeping your campus secure. But even with the most detailed campus security plan in place, emergencies are likely to happen. Finding the right solution for your campus isn’t always clear cut, especially as there are so many options available.

If you aren’t sure what devices and strategies can help your campus in an emergency, it’s time to turn to the experts. OmniCard has been a leader in the security industry for more than 20 years. In that time, we have helped universities and thousands of other institutions with the best security equipment backed by in-house support staff. If you think you need a security upgrade but still aren’t sure the best approach, contact our team today and schedule a free demo.

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